How to Throw a Glamorous Halloween Party

Decades ago, Halloween celebrations were almost exclusively kid-centered. Recently, however, the adults have begun to claim the popular fall festival for themselves.

Let’s face it, though: Many of them never updated the tackier decorations and traditions of their childhood days (except to add copious amounts of alcohol).

But that doesn’t mean your Halloween party has to feature cheap cardboard cutouts of dangling skeletons, swooping bats, formidable black cats, and warty witches, all arrayed against a backdrop of orange and black crepe paper garlands.

There’s nothing wrong with kitsch, but if your tastes run a bit classier, here’s how to throw a glamorous Halloween party.

Remember the origins

With both Christian and pagan roots, Halloween (or All Hallows’ Eve, the night before All Souls Day) marks the time when malignant spirits were thought to roam the earth, haunting the living.

People wore masks and costumes to disguise themselves from vengeful ghosts. So “scary” is the basic theme of any Halloween party, but subtle suggestion should be your aim.

Mood is key

The purpose of all those plastic pumpkins and glaring ghosts is to set an appropriately spooky atmosphere. But you want to skip the dollar store decor and opt for something more sophisticated.

Focus on black, the color of night, and highlight with accents such as white painted pumpkins, metallic or crystal skulls, and black dinnerware paired with gold cutlery.

Deep red floral arrangements, suggesting blood, lend a rich accent in black or gold vases. Keep lighting low: candles, torches, and fairy lights will furnish plenty of spectral light.

Provide an adult menu

Leave the bodies in shrouds dipped in blood (pigs in blankets dipped in ketchup) for the kids. Instead, offer your guests such chic fare as pumpkin soup in mini pumpkin bowls, a butternut squash and goat cheese pasta salad, pumpkin ravioli, or calamari with squid ink pasta served over quinoa cooked in carrot juice.

Finish with chocolate truffles or mousse for dessert, and top it all off with haunting signature cocktails: a blackberry raven, a candy corn martini, or a skeleton key, for example.

And if you can find a luxurious setting for your soiree that is also rumored to be haunted—like the Historic Alfred I. duPont Building in downtown Miami—you’ll truly end up with a glamorous Halloween party to die for!